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The Henna Wars

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,673 ratings  ·  1,860 reviews

Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by Page Street Kids
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Debbie I would say this book is appropriate for 13 and up. I work with middle schoolers and they would definitely appreciate this story.
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 ·  7,673 ratings  ·  1,860 reviews

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Emily May
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When matters of the heart are involved, it's difficult to be careful.

This was such a perfect blend of serious and sweet. I requested an arc of The Henna Wars on a whim, but soon found myself completely engrossed in this story about prejudice, culture, appropriation and romance.

Jaigirdar sets her story in a Catholic Girls' High School in Dublin. Nishat is Bangladeshi, Muslim and gay; she just came out to her parents and was met with an uncomfortable silence, so she is understandably heartbrok
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Of course Muslims can be gay. How can anyone think otherwise? The two aren't mutually exclusive. I am the living, breathing proof."

What a stunning debut. I hoped this book would be good but I didn't expect it to be extraordinary. I read this book in one sitting and stayed up until 2am to finish it.

This is not going to be a coherent review, be warned. The book touches so many different themes, from sisterhood to bullying, homophobia, family and racism and it's all done so well. One of my favour
may ➹
read this review and others on my blog

It’d be a lie to say that I didn’t have high expectations for this book. (I mean, the premise is essentially “what if we were business rivals who may or may not have feelings for each other? and we were both girls?” so how could I not.) And I’m very happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least!

The Henna Wars follows a Bengali girl named Nishat, who just came out to her parents and has to figure out how to not crumble under the despairing weight of
i loved this /so/ much. rtc! <3

Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

This was our August 2020 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕ (Also, we are so close to 5k members and it would mean the world to me if you joined us!)

💖 Content and trigger warnings: racism, homophobia, bullying, character being outed (thank you so much, May!)
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Hello this was v v cute and I REALLY enjoyed it. I especially appreciated that none of the characters were all good or all bad. They were all super complex and REALISTIC teenage characters and honestly this was just great.
Avert your eyes from this review.

It’s for your own safety. And protection. And well-being.

I am about to say something so heinous, so deeply upsetting, so profoundly unforgivable, that it may change the course of your life forever.

Here we go.

There’s still time to stop reading.

Here it is:

The cutest part of this book…

Is the cover.

I know. I’m sorry. If you want to send the Bookworm Police to revoke my membership card, I will understand.

But I’m speaking my truth on this one.

Good things about this:
Adiba Jaigirdar
Mar 06, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The content warnings for this book is printed in the ARC, and will also be printed in the final copy. But for anyone wondering whether you are in the right headspace to pick it up, the content warnings can be found here.

You can also find links to the first chapter excerpt and the Spotify Playlist on my website!

Happy reading everyone!
C.G. Drews
Sometimes you read books that are just cute and warm and heartbreaking. And your soul just THRIVES. 😍(Look, what is a little reading without pain.) I really fell in love with this, from the sapphic representation to the addictive and wonderful writing to the absolutely amazing sisterly bonds. And can we please admire this cover for ever it is so ridiculous CUTE I JUST !!!

[let's talk about family]
Family is a really powerful theme in this book, because Nishat is lesbian and is coming out to her co
Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
this was SO cute. loved seeing the qpoc rep and the Bengali culture shine through in this book.
☆Pelumi☆ (Going on hiatus because school exists)

What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.
What I want is for my parents to be outraged that someone betrayed me, not ashamed of my identity.

This book is incredibly cute and cheesy(so cheesy you can actually smell the cheese) and maybe a bit over the top but I love it that way, call me sentimental but I said what I said!
Unknown Reviews

I can’t deny my expectations for this book were high and it just about delivered. I enjoyed the story a lot, but the finished product didn’t exactly give me what I thought it would. I was looking forward to in-depth dives into cultural appropriation, a Sapphic enemies to lovers romance, and just a story generally dealing with the aftermath of coming out. I still got one of those things, so that’s still decent but this book felt like it could've been so much more.

The Henna Wars centres on a
☆ 5 / 5 ☆

August pick for the Dragons & Tea Bookclub

The instant I finished the audiobook I felt tears pricking my eyes and just this huge sense of happiness that almost felt overbearing. This made my heart feel so full and whole, and in that moment I felt truly known.

I loved this book from the very beginning; I loved Nishat, I loved Priti, I loved their sisterly bond, I loved that this book started off with a wedding, I loved that Nishat knew Flávia from before and that she was maybe her first c
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ughhh i love this book. it’s sapphic so it deserves all the love 💕 i have to say that it’s quiet emotional so please look up tw if you plan to read it. there is a list of tw in the beginning of the book but the romance isn’t even a main plot point, there’s a lot of pain in this book.
May 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
this was...terrible.

i was genuinely so excited to read this. the premise sounded so beautiful - a hate-to-love romance between two girls of colour who have a competing henna business...

well, the execution was not there, to say the least.

-the writing was felt so childish at points and remained consistently bland. there was something so weird about it that made it difficult for me to feel connected to the story and characters. nishat's narrative voice just felt very juvenile at points. there's j
June 08, 2020: So glad to be featuring the author on my blog as she writes a guest post about the importance of conversations around sexual orientation in stories with South Asian culture while she also divulges a little about the history of sexuality and gender spectrum in pre-colonial South Asia.

May 12, 2020:

Allow me to recount my first ever job: I was good at henna designing and when—in eight grade—the beauty parlours around my house were in search of more staff during the busy days before Ei
But I’m tired of being ashamed. My choice is clearly laid out in front of me. I’m going to choose me.

I really loved the main character's journey as an individual, but sadly I couldn't support the romance. It's not that Flávia did something irreversible, but Nishat's emotions were so well written, that when Flávia made her upset I don't know how many times in a row, I was so disappointed and hurt in Nishat's bahalf, I just couldn't see how we (Nishat and me) could ever forgive her. Ev
ellie a story featuring two brown girls falling in love? not to be dramatic, but this is everything i've ever wanted. ...more
Lauren Lanz
3.5 stars! ⭐️

The Henna Wars was a wonderful contemporary novel! Adiba Jaigairdar puts Bengali culture on full display while also tackling topics such as sexuality and cultural appropriation.

"Of course Muslims can be gay. How can anyone think otherwise? The two aren't mutually exclusive. I am the living, breathing proof."

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

When Nishat comes out as lesbian to her parents, they’re hesitant to adapt their cultural and religious views for her.
At school, students are give
Sprinkled Pages
this was such a cute read omg!!! this touched on important topics, but also remained a light hearted and sweet read
Zitong Ren
Read with the Between the Pages bookclub for our December book of the month.

This was really, really nice and I adored this book so much. It’s always good to be reading some YA, especially YA contemporary as I do tend to spend a lot of time reading fantasy, and more often than not adult fantasy, which can often be dense, slow and complex. This was just a really easy read and I flew right through it and that was great. The writing was sort of simple(which can be good or bad depending on your taste
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
“This is one of those moments that I want to bottle up and keep with me forever. Not because it's extraordinary, or because it's the kind of thing you would find in a Bollywood movie.
But because it's the kind of moment I could never have dreamed of having in a million years.”

representation: characters of colour (Bengali MC (own voices), Brazilian-Irish love interest, Korean side character), own voices queer characters (lesbian MC, bisexual love interest), Muslim MC (own voices).

[trigger war
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
this was so wholesome. a story involving two queer girls of colour falling for one another that opens up the commentary on cultural appropriation and racism?

I promise, you need this book in your life.
Sahil Javed
give me brown girls and boys falling in love with the same sex. give me all of that gay stuff.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: Racism, Homophobia, Forced Outing, Bullying

Nishat has a problem. Well, she doesn't have a problem—her parents, friends and rivals do. Her parents won't accept that she is a lesbian. Her friends won't accept her desire to operate a henna shop as part of their school project. And her rivals are—well. One is a girl she is instantly attracted to, and the other is the Worst Human Being On Earth.

Why do they get to take away my right to come out, and win a competition with my culture o
Nishat becomes obsessed with winning her school’s business competition, but everything isn’t as smooth sailing as she thought it would be when her old school friend Flávia walks back into her life. Nishat is crushing hard but can’t get distracted. That is until Flávia also decides to do a henna business, and it comes to a heated discussion of cultural appropriation. After her parents disregard her coming out, this competition is everything to Nishat, and she can’t stand to lost anything now.

2020 Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo: ‪Debut Novel

I wouldn’t call this book particularly fluffy/romantic as most of the content is heart-wrenching, but it did end happily and I cried my eyes out.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lea (drumsofautumn)
This was such an amazing book with so many important topics, all handled incredibly well! So much discussion on racism and cultural appropriation, the queer representation and different coming-out stories were wonderful, the relationship between the main character and her sister was absolutely beautiful and all the character were so flawed and realistic. Plus I had an especially soft spot for how unapologetically the word "lesbian" was used within this book, even if it was something that the mai ...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: Bengali Muslim lesbian mc, Afro-Brazilian Irish bi li, Bengali side characters, Korean side character
tw: homophobia, racism, outing, bullying

ARC provided by the publisher. Review also on my blog.

If I was to describe The Henna Wars in one word, I would say “comforting”. It’s comforting in a way that it’s a story about a Bengali Muslim lesbian, very clearly not catered towards white audience. The mc’s culture is a central point of the book, it plays a major role and not once is the girl made
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full review HERE

Trigger warnings for racism, homophobia, bullying and a character being outed.

The Henna Wars totally surprised me! It deals with quite a lot of important themes, but it does so in an efficient and caring way. This young adult book is about Nishat, a Bengali girl who lives in Ireland and who enjoys creating henna designs. She has an insta-crush on Flávia, a Brazilian girl who us
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

CWs: Incurred racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, bullying, and forced public outing of a queer character

This book is AMAZING. At its heart, I think this story is really about Nishat confronting ignorance and pain from people and places she once deemed to be safe. I think it's about how the people who love us can still very much hurt us, perhaps more than anyone else, and it's about the complicated roads we take to bring ourselves and our relationships out of that.

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Adiba Jaigirdar was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and has been living in Dublin, Ireland from the age of ten. She has a BA in English and History, and an MA in Postcolonial Studies. She is a contributor for Bookriot. All of her writing is aided by tea, and a healthy dose of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. When not writing, she can be found ranting about the ills of colonialism, playing video games, ...more

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